“A genocidal plan for the destruction of Brazil’s indigenous peoples”: Survival responds to Bolsonaro’s proposed new FUNAI chief

Evangelical missionary Ricardo Lopes Dias has just been removed from office as head of the Uncontacted Indians Department

Evangelical missionary Ricardo Lopes Dias has just been removed from office as head of the Uncontacted Indians Department
© Ricardo Lopes Dias

Brazilian President Bolsonaro’s government has proposed an evangelical missionary, Ricardo Lopes Dias, as head of the uncontacted Indians department of the Indigenous Affairs Agency. Mr Dias has worked with the New Tribes Mission (NTM), now known as Ethnos360, for many years.

Sarah Shenker of Survival International said today: “Putting an evangelical missionary in charge of the uncontacted Indians department of FUNAI is like putting a fox in charge of the hen house. It’s an open act of aggression, a declaration that they want to forcibly contact these tribes, which will destroy them. Together with President Bolsonaro’s recent plan to open indigenous reserves up to mining and exploitation, this is a genocidal plan for the total destruction of the most vulnerable peoples on the planet whose survival is now at stake. We will resist it with all our might, together with our indigenous friends in Brazil.”

Uncontacted tribes are the most vulnerable peoples on the planet.

Uncontacted tribes are the most vulnerable peoples on the planet.
© G. Miranda/FUNAI/Survival

The NTM is notorious around the world for its efforts to contact and evangelize uncontacted tribes. It is one of the most fundamentalist missionary organizations, whose manhunts in Paraguay in the 1970s and 1980s led to several deaths.

*On the February, 2020, Ricardo Lopes Dias was confirmed as the new head of the uncontacted Indians department of the Indigenous Affairs Agency.